Army 52

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Minnesota 84

(1-0, 1-0 home)

    3:00 PM ET, November 10, 2007

    1 2 T
    ARMY 26 2652
    MINN 42 4284

    Top Performers

    Army: J. Moonshower 9 Pts, 4 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Minnesota: D. Johnson 12 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Stl, 4 Blk

    Coleman paces Minnesota as Smith nabs victory in debut

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- This wasn't supposed to be a deep team that Tubby Smith inherited at Minnesota.

    With last season's leading scorer Lawrence McKenzie held to two free throws, the Gophers got 47 points from their bench and started Smith's first season with a complete, inspired game.

    Dan Coleman scored 16 points in 20 minutes, including two first-half dunks that fired up the Minnesota crowd in an 84-52 victory on Saturday.

    There were 11,529 fans counted for this one, a larger turnout than all but three of last season's home games. The Gophers have the same guys who lost a school-record 22 games in 2006-07, but Smith has re-energized the program since he was hired in March.

    "He's put confidence and faith in a lot of guys," McKenzie said. "It really seems like we're catching on real quick."

    Sophomore reserve Damian Johnson contributed a career-high 12 points and four blocks for Minnesota, which forced 25 turnovers by the Black Knights -- who were led by nine points from John Moonshower. Freshmen Blake Hoffarber and Al Nolen played well off the bench, as did backup big man Jonathan Williams.

    "That's why we're playing guys, to give 'em that experience now, so when there is a crunch time they can step up and perform," Smith said.

    After leaving Kentucky to take the job here, Smith has been embraced -- though he's kept a much lower profile than new football coach Tim Brewster -- by fans eager for better days at "The Barn."

    The Gophers went to the NCAA Tournament once in Dan Monson's eight seasons, following the academic fraud scandal that tarnished the 1997 Final Four appearance and forced the firing of coach Clem Haskins.

    Smith, sitting on a stool on the edge of Williams Arena's famous raised floor, has Minnesota playing a style that should excite the masses -- even if significant improvement in the standings doesn't come.

    McKenzie, who averaged more than 12 shots per game last season, missed all five of his field goals. He led the aggressive on-the-ball defense, however, harassing Jarell Brown and the others in the Army backcourt.

    Between Gophers baskets in the first half, McKenzie hounded Cleveland Richard and bumped him several times -- creating a turnover by keeping Richard from crossing halfcourt in 10 seconds.

    Defense is where Smith's teams have typically made their mark.

    "Get steals, get stops, get deflections. It's going to help us get some easy buckets," Johnson said.

    They're pushing the ball up the court when they can and stressing faster movement on offense, too, which has helped rejuvenate the players who endured the hit-bottom point when Monson was fired nearly one year ago.

    "All us old guys that were here last year, we're hungry," Coleman said.

    The Black Knights brought 13 letterwinners back from a squad that went 15-16, including Brown -- a senior who was the third-leading scorer in the Patriot League last season. Those 15 victories were the most by Army since the 1984-85 team went 16-13.

    Brown was wide open and swished a 3-pointer for the game's first points, and the Black Knights slipped past Minnesota's full-court press a couple of times for easy baskets that made Smith scowl.

    The Gophers, though, were in control of the last 30 minutes after a jumper by Brown cut the lead to 14-11 near the midpoint of the first half.

    Coleman started the second half with a 3-pointer, and Minnesota built a lead as big as 36 points -- playing with far more energy than in the past. Army went nearly 10 minutes without scoring, until Curtis Koszuta made the first of two free throws with 7:53 remaining in the game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 52 84
    FG Made-Attempted 19-54 (.352) 27-62 (.435)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-14 (.357) 10-26 (.385)
    FT Made-Attempted 9-12 (.750) 20-30 (.667)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 15 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 4 36

    2007-08 Season

    » Nov 10, 2007 @MINN 84, ARMY 52Recap